Psalm 23 (The lord so good, who giveth me food)
for large choir (SATB, SAB, SATB with Soprano, Alto and Baritone solos)
Text by Archbishop Matthew Parker (1504-1575)
Music by Edward Caine
My setting of Psalm 23 (most commonly known as The Lord is my Shephard) is a setting of the metrical translation from Parker’s 16th century psalmody. The psalmody included 8 tunes written by Thomas Tallis to fit the common meters used by Parker in most of the psalms. The most famous of these tunes is arguably Tune 8, otherwise known as Tallis’s round. The words for Tallis’s round (All praise to You, My God this night) are in fact the sample psalm text in the back of the book, however the tunes were meant to be used with a large number of the psalms using the same meter, of which Psalm 23 was one.
What is interesting about the Tallis setting as distinct from the canon it has strangely become is that there is a characteristic minor 7th in the tune. In my opinion this occurs at roughly the point it would if you were slowly rising through the harmonic spectrum. This setting exploits the harmonic spectrum for resonance. The 8th tune is used to create a big pool of resonance, like the choir is pouring sound into the space.
This is a separate movement – part of the larger choral work what fruite of immortality, written in collaboration with musicologist and choral conductor Graham Bier.
“When we got to Psalm 23, Edd gave us a truly new take on this poetry. “
“Even Archbishop Parker struggled with the rhymes for this psalm erring on the side of sentimentally. Edd’s setting cut right through this placing the psalm as a beautiful piece of poetry.”
– Alan Gillott, One and Other